Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho says he wants to rest key players for Sunday’s trip to league leaders Liverpool a move that could well hand Liverpool the title.
“I would play the players that are not going to play next Wednesday [against Atletico Madrid],” he said.
“I can’t decide by myself. I’m just the manager. I have to listen to the club.”
Chelsea’s 2-1 defeat by Sunderland last weekend means even a win at Anfield would not be enough to stop Liverpool from winning their first title in 24 years should Brendan Rodgers’ side win their remaining two games.
But, Manchester City, can still win the title if they win their remaining four fixtures and Liverpool lose a game. When told that resting players against Liverpool might not please City, Mourinho said:
“I think I will do it, but we have to speak internally.”
City will be furious if Mourinho lays down at Anfield, especially after his comments earlier this season about City trying to buy the title.
Tuesday’s first leg in Madrid was a physical affair, and Chelsea will be without John Terry and Petr Cech for next week’s return leg at Stamford Bridge. Add in Frank Lampard and John Mikel Obi who are both suspended plus midfielders Nemanja Matic and Mohamed Salah who are cup-tied and Mourinho will be down to bare bones for the second leg. So wanting to keep his remaining starters wrapped in cotton wool under next week is understandable. But what does it say about the integrity of the Premier League, when Chelsea are poised to play a reserve side in what could well be a title decider?